In about one week Europe’s oldest long distance triathlon event will take place in The Netherlands: CHALLENGEALMERE-AMSTERDAM. Around 3500 athletes will start at this three day event, with traditionally also a strong pro field. Among the favorites Cameron Wurf, Jaroslav Kovacic, Kristian Hogenhaug, Evert Scheltinga, Tjardo Visser, Yvonne van Vlerken, Els Visser, Camille Deligny and Corine Nelen.
During the press conference Yvonne van Vlerken, title defender and reigning European Champion Long Distance, stated that she’s aiming to win Almere again. ,,I am looking forward to the beautiful and flat course. Last year was almost the perfect race for me, so everything has to fall into place if I want to improve the race record that I have set (8:51:13). At least I try to make it a nice, old-fashioned good ‘Yvonne race’, ” said the triathlete who already completed more than 40 Long Distances and went 15 times under 9 hours. ,, Almere is and will remain a special race. A race that gets me always extra motivated. ”
Among the men, the eyes are focused on Evert Scheltinga. The Dutchman became fifth overall last year, but never finished below 8 hours. ,, Of course it’s a dream to go sub-8. Although I do not have a specific time as goal, as it’s also depending on the specific circumstances of race day such as the weather conditions, I know that racing for this, means you automatically participate in the battle for the victory. Of course that is also cool.”
Local triathlete Tjardo Visser seems, just like last year, to have the best papers to become the fastest Almeerder. ,,This course suits me perfectly. It’s totally flat and that is the best for me. Breaking 8:30 hours is now really a thing for me. I would love to go under it. For fast times I hope for good weather and little wind. But for a good classification, a rainy and windy day is also good to me. At the other hand I dislike bad weather as much as the spectators do. So, let the sun shine!”
Corine Nelen, finishing last year in a tenth position overall, third Dutch woman and best of Almere, is also ready for the battle. She hopes to improve her personal record of 9:45 hours and a top ten place would be a nice outcome. “My preparations were good. There are five strong Dutch ladies, so I think that a tenth place overall is the highest possible. The home-advantage is the fun course with everywhere people you personally know. That’s always a party. “